By Carl Hanson

When breakfast bumps into lunch, we call it brunch. But only sometimes. And that's because there are rules about brunch, people. Rules about what can and cannot be considered brunch. The brules, if you will.

Possible brunch in progress | Photo by Meredith

Before you brunch, please be in compliance.

The Brules

First, brunch is a special occasion meal.

Which explains why you can't have brunch during the workweek. When you meet co-workers or clients for breakfast/lunch, decide which meal you're having -- is it breakfast or lunch? Choose one. Because it's not brunch. Order a mimosa, and you're still not having brunch, now you're just drinking on the job.

And while it is true you can't have brunch during the workweek, weekday brunches are permissible, provided that the day is a holiday -- typically a Monday (less frequently a Friday) and so part of a three-day holiday weekend. Then it's okay because...

Brunch is a weekend thing. We don't make the brules here, we just document them for posterity. Exception that proves the brules: Holidays that fall on the same date every year. Valentine's Day brunch, for example, is a thing, even when it falls on a Thursday. Birthday brunch, also acceptable any day of the week.

Mother's Day is the Christmas of brunch days. This is indisputable. Although it's not clear what that makes Christmas brunch. At any rate, Mom's Day is the biggest, baddest brunch day of the year, bar none.

Photo by Meredith

Easter, then, is...the Easter of brunch days. Easter brunch is certainly no slouch. And if you make these Baked and Glazed Cinnamon Roll Bunnies, you may crown yourself Queen Bunny of Easter.

Yes, you may eat a sandwich for brunch. Traditionally, lunch food is the second-class citizen of the brunch menu -- even though 4 of the 5 letters that make up "lunch" appear in the word "brunch" (compared with only 2 of 9 from "breakfast"). Be that as it may, you may still enjoy a sandwich for brunch. Particularly if it includes bacon or is one of these popular crossover sandwiches:

VIDEO: See how to make peanut butter and banana French toast.

Please note, however: The only sandwich that is strictly forbidden at brunch is a hotdog -- because a hotdog is not a sandwich, according to established culinary law, as ruled by Judge John Hodgman.

You may drink a Mimosa for brunch. You may not drink a Scotch. The brules are tough but fair. When you're determining whether an alcoholic brunch drink complies with the brules or not, consider this: Does the cocktail feature a breakfast juice? Orange juice and Mimosas. Cranberry juice and Poinsettias. Vegetable juice and Micheladas. Tomato juice and Bloody Maries. If so, you're golden.

This could be brunch | Photo by Meredith

Finally, brunch is more than just an excuse to drink alcohol in the late morning. Or it should be. Instead, it's an excuse to indulge in your favorite sweet and/or savory breakfast treats.

Now that you're in full brunch compliance, you might be ready to take it next level -- the Power Brunch. That means hosting a wedding or baby shower brunch. And you might also consult our hot tips for hosting the perfect brunch.

Check out our complete collection of Brunch Recipes.

Master the Brunch Basics